Last week, Rolling Loud took its talents to South Beach, literally, as the world’s most popular Hip-Hop festival graced Miami with its presence for the weekend. People flew out from all over the country (and possibly the world) to watch the all-star lineup and headliners put on an amazing show. Kanye West was going to be the closing headliner of Friday’s festivities, and hopefully put on one of the greatest sets that Rolling Loud has ever seen. In another universe, that may very well have happened, but that couldn’t be farther from what happened in this one.
In the week leading up to his performance, Rolling Loud announced that “due to circumstances out of [their] control,” Ye has pulled out of the performance. Considering how many people were probably going just to see him, I can only imagine how many people were vehemently disappointed that the night they dreamed of was not going to happen. However, Rolling Loud was quick to announce that his replacement would be his longtime collaborator and former friend, Kid Cudi.
Although Cudi is no Kanye, it’s unfair to judge him based solely on that fact. Cudi boasts a wide variety of hits in his discography and also happens to be one of the most influential artists of his generation as well. It’s hard to find someone born between 1995 and 2002 who doesn’t know the song “Pursuit of Happiness,” regardless of whether or not we’re talking about Cudi’s OG version or the Steve Aoki Remix that is still played in clubs far and wide to this day. In case you couldn’t tell, I also revere Kid Cudi as one of the most impactful artists on this side of the 2010’s, So you can imagine my surprise when I woke up to the news that his set ended early because unruly fans who were disappointed in the lack of Ye decided to throw water bottles at Cudi after only 4 songs in.
This is the last thing Cudi of all people deserved, especially considering he was the guy who replaced Ye. I think that a portion of this was inevitable since fans were campaigning on social media for the festival to add Travis Scott to the lineup instead, but anybody who wasn’t Ye or Travis was going to face some kind of scrutiny. However, that doesn’t justify the unnecessary throwing of water bottles. Because of some folk who thought it’d be hilarious, others had their night ruined, and Cudi’s set was ultimately cut short. I wouldn’t be surprised if he never does another Rolling Loud show, or stops performing for a bit, as I can understand how something like that could be even the slightest bit traumatizing, considering the recent string of events where randoms have been attempting to tackle performers and or proceeded to have items thrown at them onstage (think Rico Nasty getting stuff thrown at her while opening for Playboi Carti on his tour, by HIS fans).
An apology finally to Kid Cudi finally came, by way of Rolling Loud Co-Founder Tariq Cherif’s Instagram account, where he apologized for how the actions of a few “lame” fans ended up ruining the experience for everyone, and how everyone needs to respect each other. I agree with the latter, but why did it take so long for him to get an apology? It may seem like a jump to some, but I truly think that this kind of behavior could become increasingly problematic in the future. As previously mentioned, people have already been rushing comedians on stage, what happens when they begin to rush performers even more frequently or throw more than just water bottles? It sets a dangerous precedent and I truly believe that Rolling Loud should have apologized sooner, and done what they could to find the bottle throwers and make examples of them (ie. fines, banishments from future events, literally anything punitive to show that there is no room for that kind of behavior).